Tag Archive for: dru’s book musing

Weekend with Friends by Dru Ann Love

by Dru Ann Love

Every year me and two of my friends plan a weekend getaway. We’ve been to Boston, Denver, Savannah, and most recently Memphis and Tennessee. Whatever is our destination, I always look to see if I have any author friends in the area and plan a lunch. I like to introduce them to the authors and the books they write. In most cases, they do tend to make a purchase or two.

This past weekend, we did the touristy things, Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks march to the fountain in Memphis and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Johnny Cash Museum, and the Musicians Hall of fame. But the most entertaining activity was meeting the authors and one of them was Lois Winston. We picked the Margaritaville restaurant for lunch, but who knew they had live music that just never stopped. It was hard hearing conversations if you weren’t nearby. It was great seeing Lois and my other friends.

When you travel, do you seek out friends to visit?

Going in . . .by Dru Ann

This past month, I got on a plane or two or three to attend two reader/fan conventions.

First was to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Left Coast Crime convention. This was the first time I was in a crowd of over 100 people. Was I anxious, yes, but that feeling of being among your tribe took over and except for a few blips, I had a wonderful time. In New Mexico, the mask wearing was optional. I wore my mask when I was in mixed company, meaning if I didn’t know three-quarters of the group, my mask went all. Hugs were plenty, but I asked before giving out hugs. I was on a panel “Decades of Books” and it was cool research books during a section decade. We received kudos for our panel. As for the airplane ride, mask was still mandatory, so I was feeling comfortable on my flight. Next year, Left Coast Crime will be in Tucson, Arizona where I will be Fan Guest of Honor.

Second trip was to Bethesda, Maryland for the Malice Domestic convention. This time the mask mandate was lifted, but I still wore my mask. My guess is that 75% still wore their mask. I was Fan Guest of Honor this year and moderated a panel “Writing a Series: Keeping it Fresh” with Edith Maxwell, Amanda Flower, Cheryl Hollon, SC Perkins, and Barbara Ross. After the panel, there were continual compliments on how well it went. At the banquet, after my speech, I was surprised when I received a standing ovation.

The best part of the month of April and attending these conventions, was I got to be with my crime fiction family after an absence of two years and it felt so good.

Expectations vs. Reality by Dru Ann Love

When you pick up the first book in a series, you are introduced to the main protagonist, her friends, the small town that she lives in and the other residents that will come in and out of her daily life. Note: could also be a male protagonist as well.

We love the characters and the small-town atmosphere, and we love that she is probably besting the local police force in solving the crime. And now the murderer has been caught in this delightfully charming town that I want to move to.

Until book two, three, four and so forth. So how many more murders in this small-town that I’ve come to love will happen?

By now, the local cops may or may not seek out our protagonist to help solve the murder. Question of the day, why don’t they put her on retainer as a consultant? Why doesn’t she just join the police force? You know why? Because there would not be a next book.

And yet we continue to hope we see a murder in the early chapters of the book as we along with our favorite amateur sleuth, solve the case while we try to figure it out before she does. And still want to move to that small town.

These are little things I think about when I’m reading books in my favorite long-running series.

What about you? What do you think about when reading your series?

Caddyshack revisited by Dru Ann Love

We have pigeons. They can be annoying when they gather. Especially on my balcony railing.

I’ve tried everything. Shooing them off the balcony. Spritzing them with water. And yet the continue to land on my railing and make a mess. Now they come onto the balcony and walk around leaving a mess there as well. So the battle has begun in earnest.

Repellent ribbons, they worked well until rain caused the ribbons to shrivel up and lose their shine.

Repellent device #1, they did keep the pigeons away, but they made too much noise when it swung against the glass panel

Spinners, they worked fine until mother nature unleashed strong winds and spun my spinners from their pole into the ground below. Later I found remnants of my spinners.

Repellent device #2, same strong winds took these away as well.

Spikes, I took a gamble and bought these spikes. After losing the spinners, I put one strip up and watch a pigeon land on my railing, take a few steps and encountered my spikes and flew away. Victory, but now I have to wait to see what mother nature will do to these spikes before I put the rest down.

Do you have troublesome pests?

Anticipation by Dru Ann Love

The definition of anticipation is an emotion involving pleasure or anxiety in considering or awaiting an expected event.

So, what am I anticipating? How about books?

Read more

How does one become a reader? by Dru Ann Love

It starts when someone, most likely mom, reads to you

Then you are read from picture books, pretty pictures with words

Then you begin to understand the words

Then you realize different words make sentences

Now you know what happens on each page, sort of like you are reading even if you don’t know the words

You are older, and can point out the book that you want read to you

You know a few of the words by sight as they go along with the story

What is that on the table, a box of cereal

Lots of words but the picture tells what you are eating

And you know the words when you see them

Ahh, time for school where you will learn your A-B-Cs

Now you know what those words are in the book and on the cereal box

Look ma, I’m reading!

You are now a reader and let the fun begin.

What do you remember about your early reading days?

It’s That Time Again by Dru Ann Love

where I have to come up with a post about whatever. And like always, I have nothing. So I’ll ramble along until my word count reach 150.

How is everyone doing during this pandemic crisis? Me, I’m so-so. 

When you choose to live alone, it is nothing. You go about your business and life goes on. When you’re in a pandemic crisis and live alone, you really are alone. Because I’m immune-challenged, no one could come visit and I was restricted to my home. Once things started settling down, I took that first trip to my doctors. Uber is my friend. I wear a mask, not for you, but for me. I limit going outdoors, not for you, but for me. If I go out, I go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, and of course the doctor’s office. I always get the first appointment – less people to encounter. I hit the grocery and pharmacy when they first open, again less people to encounter.

My reading has somewhat suffered. Sometimes it takes me longer to read a book for review, but if I’m reading a book to be read, I can read it in 2 days. When I’m not reading, I’m watching movies or a recorded TV show.

Books I’ve read/am reading:

What I last watched:

I’m also quilting more. It is keeping me busy, figuring out color patterns and designs. I’m always amazed at the finished product.

I miss seeing my friends. I miss attending reader/fan conventions. I miss my girl’s weekend vacation trip.

What I don’t miss is having to climb subway stairs.

How are you handling things?

Virtual Activities by Dru Ann Love

The year is almost three-quarters done and activities that we would have attended in-person are now virtual.

I’ve never gone to a noir before because 1) they are in bars, dark bars 2) they are at night 3) they are never in my neighborhood 4) I prefer not to take trains at night and 5) it is mostly authors I don’t read. Virtual noirs changed that, and I’ve discovered so many authors I would not have blinked twice at if I saw their name. So, hooray for virtual noir. A shout-out to A shout-out to Ed Aymar and Alex Segura.

Then there is zoom. Oh, how I remember the original TV show (%Come on and Zoom, Zoom, zooma-Zoom%). But we are not talking about that. I’ve participated in a zoom talk with Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia chapter, attended a zoom memorial for a favorite author, attended several zoom book launches, and attended many a zoom talks with authors and friends. With one set of friends, we played this game, Spicy Farkel. I like zoom the best because you can interact with people.

Then there are the indie bookstores that are holding book launches as well. I’ve attended several of those and enjoy listening to the Q&As from the book seller. I don’t buy print books, but I will donate to their virtual tip jar – what a great concept.

Then there is Facebook. I’ve attended a few Facebook Live video author events and you are listening to the author and to interact with them, you leave a question in the chat area and the host will ask it for you. Some have book launches in their feed, whether it’s on their page or in a group page, where you have to “refresh” the page. I’m not a fan of constantly having to refresh, but it is a way to interact with the authors one-on-one during the book launch.

Now, here is the BSP – my fellow blogger, Kristopher Zgorski and I have a joint YouTube venture called BOLO*Musings where we talk about books. Another example of being with our friends and talking books. You can see our YouTube videos HERE.

Have you organized or participated in virtual activities? Do you have a preference?

Reading and Meal Deliveries by Dru Ann Love

Reading is my savior. Because I don’t have to commute to work, I miss that routine of an hour of reading before and after work. I lost my reading mojo when this global crisis started, as I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Words were just words to me.

I’m glad I got my reading mojo back, however, I’m struggling with it. Normally I would read two to three books in a week and now it takes me at least one week to finish a book. I think it’s the routine I miss.

No matter what, I continue to read and enjoy the stories being told for my reading pleasure.

How is everyone else doing with their reading?

So in between that, I’ve been trying out a few grocery delivery companies:

  • Amazon Fresh: I get 98% of what I ordered delivered.
  • Instacart: I get at least 85% of what I ordered delivered, so the shopping cart cost always fluctuate.

And home meal deliveries.

  • HelloFresh: The program wouldn’t let me pick my own meal for the first time, so I had to settle on their choice and of the three, the only one I like was the flatbread and that is if I didn’t put the stuff they wanted me to put on it. Plus I had to do prep work. And the reason for cancellation, they did not deliver the box to my apartment door. They left it where the mailbox are and if I would not have said, hey where are they and went down there, someone could have walked away with the box.
  • Now, I’m experimenting with Freshly now. The food is prepared and all I have to do is put it in the oven (it’s meant for a microwave, which I don’t have). In week one, I liked two of my choices. This week I picked something different and we’ll see if I continue beyond that.
  • The other delivery companies all involved prep – yes, I’m lazy like that.

So, have any of you tried grocery deliveries or home meal deliveries?

Malice Domestic in pictures by Dru Ann Love

This week I would be winging my way to Bethesda, Maryland for the annual Malice Domestic Convention. As we are still in the midst of a pandemic, this and other major reader/fan conventions have been canceled. Today’s post is a pictorial journey of the fun times had at previous Malice Domestic conventions. . .starting with 2010.

2010 in Crystal City, Virginia – This was my first time there and I was nervous as heck. I always thank Heather Webber from nudging me to attend.

2011 in Bethesda, Maryland

2012 in Bethesda, Maryland

2013 in Bethesda, Maryland

2014 in Bethesda, Maryland

2015 in Bethesda, Maryland

2016 in Bethesda, Maryland

2017 in Bethesda, Maryland – The year I won the MWA Raven Award

2018 in Bethesda, Maryland

2019 in Bethesda, Maryland – BOLO Books and dru’s book musings first ad in the Malice Domestic program book

2020 in Bethesda, Maryland

Who’s ready for the conventions in 2021? Albuquerque, Bethesda, and New Orleans, anyone?

I know I am.